The Delhi High Court has dismissed the parole plea of Vikas Yadav, who is serving life term for killing business executive Nitish Katara in 2002, by refusing his submission that he has to attend his ailing mother as there is no one to look after her.
The high court said Yadav’s mother is not immobile, as was suggested, and there are sufficient number of relatives to look after her. Justice Vibhu Bakhru also considered that Ajay Katara, a key prosecution witness, and Nilam Katara, mother of the victim, have serious objections to Yadav being released as they fear for their safety.
“This court is not persuaded to accede to the prayers made in the present petition,” the judge said and dismissed the plea.
The high court said the Delhi government’s June 26 order rejecting Yadav’s parole plea cannot be faulted with. Yadav sought parole on the ground that he has to take care of his mother, who was stated to be suffering from spinal medical condition along with thyroid and inner stress causing her depression. He also claimed that he was suffering from mental trauma due to incarceration for more than eighteen years and he requires parole to connect with his family members and maintain family and social ties.
The high court noted that the call detail record indicates that his mother has been travelling extensively and there were a number of visits from Delhi to various parts of Uttar Pradesh including Ghaziabad. While the documents supplied by him indicated that his mother had visited the Lok Nayak Hospital on three occasions in 2019, her call records indicated that she was not anywhere near the hospital on those dates, it said.
Considering the past conduct of Yadav, the high court said the apprehension of both the objectors– Ajay Katara and Nilam Katara– that he would misuse his liberty cannot be stated to be unfounded.
“In any view, the contention that he has been in custody for a period of eighteen years without any liberty, is plainly unpersuasive. Even though the petitioner has been in custody he had found ways to avoid rigors of custody,” the judge said in its six-page order which was passed on Tuesday.
Regarding Yadav’s counsel submission that he has been unable to meet his mother for many years as he has not been released from custody, the high court said this argument also has little appeal considering that nothing precludes his mother to visit him in jail.
The high court said during the earlier hearings, it was stated that there was no one to look after Yadav’s mother as his sister was residing in Gurgaon and his brother was staying in Punjab. However, later his counsel submitted that it was not Yadav’s case that his younger brother was residing in Punjab but merely that he was residing separately.
This contention is advanced as the status report now filed clearly establishes that the petitioner’s younger brother is predominantly residing in Delhi. He has minor children that go to school in Delhi.
“The analysis of the call details record indicates that most of the time he is in Delhi. It has been ascertained that the petitioner’s younger brother lives in the same property (Vasant Kunj) as their mother,” the high court said.
However, Yadav’s counsel claimed that although his brother’s house is in the same compound but it is separate from the farmhouse in which their mother resides.
On October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court had awarded a 25-year jail term without any benefit of remission to Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal for their role in the sensational kidnapping and killing of Katara. Another co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan was also handed down a 20-year jail term in the case. Prior to this, the Delhi High Court, while upholding the life imprisonment awarded to Vikas and Vishal Yadav by the trial court, had specified a 30-year sentence, without any remission, to both of them. It had awarded a 25-year jail term to third convict Pehalwan.
All three were convicted and sentenced for kidnapping Nitish Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and then killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, the sister of Vikas. Bharti is the daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician D P Yadav who is in jail in connection with another murder case. Katara was murdered as Vishal and Vikas Yadav did not approve of his affair with Bharti because they belonged to different castes, the lower court had said in its verdict.
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